Nico Hulkenberg welcomes offer of Sauber seat for 2014 season if he wants it
But Lotus target admits he is still waiting on news from elsewhere
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 18/11/13 9:14am
Despite being one of the form men in Formula 1, the highly-rated German's 2014 plans continue to be shrouded in uncertainty with what his likely to be his first-choice plan, a switch to front-running Lotus, believed to be dependent on whether the Enstone team finally seal an investment deal with the Quantum Motorsport consortium.
Should that move not come off then a return to Force India for Hulkenberg just 12 months on from his departure for Sauber has been strongly mooted.
However, although his current Swiss employers have been linked with numerous drivers that, unlike Hulkenberg, would bring a much-needed budget with them to the team - including Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez and Sergey Sirotkin - Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz revealed in his post-race Notebook at the United States GP that the Swiss outfit's Team Principal Monsisha Kaltenborn had confirmed there would still be a seat for Hulkenberg should he wish to stay.
His team boss' comments were put to Hulkenberg by Natalie Pinkham shortly afterwards, to which the driver, with a smile, replied: "That's good news, isn't it."
Asked if a second year at Sauber was what he wanted, the German said: "I want to be in Formula 1 at first and then after we have to see.
"I want to get a car that's able to do what we're doing now basically to well in the points and I wouldn't mind to be on the podium every now and then. But certainly Sauber is one of the possible options."
With Hulkenberg thought to be waiting on Lotus's decision, the 26-year-old admits that the timeframe for a final call on 2014 is not in his own hands.
"It's not entirely my decision, I'm also dependent on a few answers from different teams," he added.
"It's really hard to say. I wouldn't like to say anything in terms of a timeframe because I don't know whether I can keep that or be within that."
Hulkenberg's case to secure a seat on next season's grid on merit was further strengthened by his sixth-place finish in Austin on Sunday, the former GP2 Champion's fourth top-six finish in the last seven races.
However, he did express some regret that his late-race surge up to the back of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari - Hulkenberg ultimately finished just 0.8s behind the Spaniard - had come too late.
"It's a good eight points, fairly happy," he said.
"Just a bit disappointed at the end that we had quite good speed which we were lacking a bit like the beginning race, mid-race and 15 laps from the end when Fernando got me the first time. Then towards the end the car got really well again, the handling was very good so that's when we picked up some pace. But unfortunately I had lost track position already at that time."